Ralo’s Lube and Auto Center in Marshall, Texas is used to their customer, David Sellers bringing them strange things to work on. From motorcycles to a 1937 Chevy pickup turned hot rod, the employees at Ralo’s are Sellers’ go-to-guys when his vehicles need service. Earlier this year, Sellers brought Ralo’s a vehicle to service with possibly the strangest story yet.
One day, Sellers rumbled up to the East Texas lube shop in a red and black, tactical, Humvee with a futuristic flair. The crew chuckled, “Here he comes again.” But what Sellers brought them to service was deserving of some “oohs” and “ahhs.” He called it a Humvee BRV-O, and it looked like it belonged in the movies.
Sellers, owner of D&T Iron Design, an ornamental iron fabrication business in Marshall, Texas, had built the BRV-O using 12-gauge cold rolled steel sheets and a sideswiped, 2012 Chevrolet three-quarter ton pickup. The BRV-O was a vehicle he’d always wanted and one day, when inspiration struck him, Sellers wasted no time building a spin-off of the iconic tank himself.
“Arnold Schwarzenegger owned the first civilian owned Humvee. It was black and red, and I always wanted one,” Sellers said.
Inspired by new military Humvee prototypes, Sellers wasted no time getting started.
“A while back, the military was looking to replace the Humvees that had been around since 1982 with a new design. There were three companies in the running to build them: Lockheed Martin, AM General and Oshkosh Defense. I modeled my Humvee after the design concept AM General was proposing.”
When Sellers ran into a deal too good to pass up on a damaged Chevy truck, he decided to use it as the base of the ride.
“I drove the truck in and started by cutting it into pieces. We shortened the frame by 42 inches and built an all-new front end that tilts completely forward. That was probably the most difficult part, because all of the radius parts on the front had to be hand cut on an English wheel. Most car manufacturers stamp those parts off with dies, but when you’re doing a one-off like I was you have to hand make all the radii,” Sellers said.
The engineering challenges didn’t slow Sellers down. On November 5, 2014, Sellers started the project. Less than a year later, on June 1, 2015, the Humvee was complete.
Inside the BRV-O are front bucket seats. In the back, a bench seat covers the six-feet three-inch wide expanse of interior space. Under the hood, there is just as much room to work and because Sellers kept everything under the hood the same as the original Chevy pickup, it’s easy for the guys at Ralo’s to service.
“Under the hood, it’s the same as the ’06 Chevy I started with. It has a 6.0 gasoline engine in it,” Sellers said. “I’d like to install a twin turbo in the near future.”
Ralo’s hasn’t had to perform anything but standard services to the vehicle so far.
“They’ve done brake work, a front-end alignment and it’s probably due for another oil change,” Sellers said.
Oil changes are something the technicians at Ralo’s see the BRV-O for on a regular basis, since Sellers doesn’t just let the car he dreamed about sit in a garage.
“When I go somewhere in it, even if it’s just Walmart or Lowes, I have to figure it might take me an extra 20 to 30 minutes because people always want to stop and look at it. I take it to car shows too, so I end up driving it a lot,” Sellers said.
Recently, Oshkosh Defense won the military contract to produce the new Humvees. So, Sellers’ vehicle is not only a 6,870-pound showstopper, but it’s also likely it will never be mass produced — deeming it not only one-of-a-kind but the Strangest Vehicle Serviced in 2015.